Dollar General eyeing locations in Washington state

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Super S
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Dollar General eyeing locations in Washington state

Post by Super S » April 20th, 2019, 7:29 am

http://www.chronline.com/business/dolla ... e5082.html

This seems like a good area for expansion with the demise of Kmart and Sears in the region, as well as Fred Meyer abandoning plans for a store in Centralia. Lewis County has fewer shopping options than surrounding areas.

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Re: Dollar General eyeing locations in Washington state

Post by storewanderer » April 20th, 2019, 9:14 am

They will really blanket an area, at the expense of independent grocers.

They have really blanketed small towns in a region near me. The largest town of that region is Susanville with a non-Supercenter Wal Mart, Safeway, IGA, Rite Aid, and extremely low volume Walgreens. It also has Ross and Marshalls now. Well, in that region, Dollar General has built stores in towns with as few as 2,000 in population. They now have stores in Portola, Quincy, Greenville, Chester, Westwood, Susanville, and Janesville.

Some of these locations actually seem to run some volume, especially on groceries. Particularly Portola, and that was at the direct expense of the long-time local independent grocer in town, who sold out to an OR Chain called NW Grocers who took the prices to the moon. Interesting strategy. Anyway, these Dollar Generals have 2-3 employees at once which is huge for Dollar General which often only has one employee when I go in.

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Re: Dollar General eyeing locations in Washington state

Post by cjd » April 21st, 2019, 7:48 am

They have blanketed here too. Just about every 10 miles is a DG. They have located in what I call bumps in the road, or communities that have a decent population, but are secluded with miles to any shopping. In a few cases this unfortunately caused the local hardware or general store type shopping that had been around for years to have to close. They couldn't compete on price with a chain like DG.

I a few instances, I've even seen them locate into tiny towns of 1000 or so where there were NO stores at all other than gas stations. Needless to say, they are probably making a killing, given that people will likely stop there than drive 5 or 10 miles or more to Walmart in the next biggest town.

In my town, they even built a store where a house previously was. It's amazing it fit and zoning approved it. I haven't been to this location, because it's on a busy highway with no turn lane, and the parking lot is very small and tight. Getting in and out looks like a nightmare, but the lot is still busy.

Even from my house, it's 6 miles to Publix, Winn Dixie or any other shopping. DG built a store about 3 years ago which is only a mile away. Unfortunately the convenience store across the highway lost a ton of business as a result. While its parking lot used to be full, it's now typically only has one or two cars. A few people buying gas but that's about it.

I don't usually shop at the DG, but I have been inside a couple of times. The store is following the trendy look of the larger ones. Polished concrete floors, warehouse ceiling. It's well lit, the aisles are wide and not cluttered, the grocery section feels more like a supermarket than a dollar store. It is in a prefab style building, so it does still feel like a trailer inside, a little. But otherwise, its a nice store.

This is a big contrast to Family Dollar, who at one time had two stores in shopping centers, and since closed one but only built one new store in the past 8 years or so.

In the 80s and 90s it was very common to see DG and FD in shopping centers along with grocery stores. Sometimes even having the two discounters right next to each other. But in the past 10-15 years it seems DG's motive has been to get out of those locations into their own buildings while expanding their store base. Part of this I think had to do with grocery stores putting restrictions on what the dollar store could sell. I remember in one town an independent grocer doing this with a Dollar General that was a tenant in the shopping center. Only dry goods could be sold with no coolers at the DG for items such as milk, dairy, or prepackaged meats. This led DG to go ahead and build their own separate building down the street.

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Re: Dollar General eyeing locations in Washington state

Post by Super S » April 23rd, 2019, 8:27 am

storewanderer wrote:
April 20th, 2019, 9:14 am
They will really blanket an area, at the expense of independent grocers.

They have really blanketed small towns in a region near me. The largest town of that region is Susanville with a non-Supercenter Wal Mart, Safeway, IGA, Rite Aid, and extremely low volume Walgreens. It also has Ross and Marshalls now. Well, in that region, Dollar General has built stores in towns with as few as 2,000 in population. They now have stores in Portola, Quincy, Greenville, Chester, Westwood, Susanville, and Janesville.

Some of these locations actually seem to run some volume, especially on groceries. Particularly Portola, and that was at the direct expense of the long-time local independent grocer in town, who sold out to an OR Chain called NW Grocers who took the prices to the moon. Interesting strategy. Anyway, these Dollar Generals have 2-3 employees at once which is huge for Dollar General which often only has one employee when I go in.
In the past year, two stores opened in Rainier and Clatskanie, Oregon. The Rainier location was built along with a new Grocery Outlet. Rainier has not had a full size supermarket in years (unless you count J&R Sales which was previously on the site, which was more of a closeout type of store that had a small food section) I think the two stores complement each other, and fill a need, especially with increasing traffic congestion on Highway 30 at times going into Longview, WA across the river. Clatskanie has an old, minimally remodeled Safeway that lacks service departments, which is next to a Hi-School Pharmacy/hardware. I could see these stores possibly affected as they date to the 1960s, while Dollar General is a new build. But Clatskanie has limited shopping options, for larger stores you either go to Astoria or Longview which is a 20 mile drive either way.

Dollar General does have good prices, but is very limited in selection. However, when you have large operators such as Safeway that do little to no investment in the smaller town locations, and a chain like Dollar General shows up with a brand new store, this is going to resonate with some people especially when prices are lower.

In any case, the established retailers need to wake up. Dollar General I think is a huge threat to the high priced smaller stores that exist in smaller towns.

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Re: Dollar General eyeing locations in Washington state

Post by Brian Lutz » April 23rd, 2019, 9:50 am

I could see a niche for Dollar General in some of the smaller towns in rural Snohomish County like Sultan, Gold Bar, Granite Falls and Darrington. None of them are quite as middle-of-nowhere as some of the ones in Oregon (possibly Darrington), but Granite Falls has only one IGA store and Sultan has only a small Red Apple market. Downtown Lake Stevens is similar with only a small independent grocer but has three grocery stores (Safeway, Haggen, Saars Super Saver) and a Target along Highway 9 and a Walmart supercenter a few miles up the road. Sultan also has a number of other smaller towns eastward on highway 2 (Index, Startup, Gold Bar) with little more than a couple of convenience stores.

I suppose they could even try to sneak a couple of stores into rural King and Kittitas County (places like Fall City, Carnation and Easton, maybe even Duvall and Cle Elum,) if they're really ambitious.

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